The Team

The team supporting ImPaKT are experts in a diverse number of fields, including microbial and virus pathogenesis, vaccine development, immune response, and autoimmune diseases. The ImPaKT team has experience in basic, translational and clinical research in immunology, infectious disease, and bacteriology. The ImPaKT Facility is also supported by the world-class imaging centres developed by Western University in conjunction with Robarts Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute.

Eric ArtsEric Arts

Canada Research Chair, HIV Pathogenesis and Viral Control
Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Eric Arts is the Canada Research Chair in HIV Pathogenesis and Viral Control, Professor, Microbiology and Immunology. His years of research focused on HIV pathogenesis, drug and vaccine development is now greatly enhanced through the use of in vivo imaging and new animal models to cure HIV. Translation of his research discoveries has led to multiple patents, commercialization of clinical diagnostics and licensing agreements with industry. He has won several entrepreneurial scientist awards and is a sought-after speaker at universities institutes, and conferences around the world. He has been continually funded for 20 years by NIH (NIAID, NICHD, and NHLBI), from the State of Ohio, CIHR, NSERC, Merck, Gilead, and amfAR. During this time, he has also routinely served on review panels (e.g. NIH, CIHR), advisory boards for pharmaceutical companies and for large Gates Foundation-funded research programs.

Jimmy DekeakosJimmy Dikeakos

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Jimmy Dikeakos is an Associate Professor in Microbiology and Immunology. He leads a research group studying interactions between HIV-1 accessory proteins and host proteins. He received a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from McGill University completed his graduate training at the University of Montreal. He completed his post-doctoral studies at the Vollum Institute in Portland, Oregon specializing in HIV pathogenesis.

Mansour HaeryfarMansour Haeryfar

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Mansour Haeryfar is a Professor in Microbiology and Immunology. He investigates conventional and unconventional T cell functions in the contexts of antiviral immunity and antitumour immune surveillance. These include MHC-restricted CD8+ T cells, CD1d-restricted iNKT cells and MR1-restricted MAIT cells. The overarching goal of his research is to improve our understanding of cell-mediated host responses to viral pathogens and tumour antigens, and to invent novel and efficacious immunotherapies for infectious diseases and malignancies. Dr. Haeryfar received his doctorate in Laboratory Medicine from National University of Tehran followed by his M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies at University of Manitoba and Dalhousie University, and his postdoctoral training at NIH (Bethesda, Maryland). 

John McCormickJohn McCormick

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute

Dr. John McCormick is a Professor in Microbiology and Immunology and a Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute. His research is focused primarily on understanding the molecular and immunological mechanisms by how a potent group of bacterial toxins, termed superantigens, contribute to disease caused by the notable human bacterial pathogens Streptococcus pyogenes and Staphylococcus aureus. His research covers broad topics in bacteriology, genetics, immunology, biochemistry, and animal models of bacterial colonization and invasive disease.

Dave HeinrichsDavid E. Heinrichs

Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. David E. Heinrichs is a Professor in Microbiology and Immunology. He studies the pathogenesis of the 'superbug' Staphylococcus aureus. More specifically, his research has focused on the so-called ‘host-pathogen interface’, characterizing mechanisms by which S. aureus interacts with molecules and cells of the mammalian immune system. Currently, he is following up on the discovery that multidrug resistant S. aureus grows within and subsequently kills macrophages, which are key sentinels of the immune system that are designed to kill bacteria. And he is seeking the development of inhibitors of S. aureus strategies to counter inherent drug resistance in this human pathogen. 

Stephen KerfootSteven Kerfoot

Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Steven Kerfoot is an Associate Professor in Microbiology and Immunology. His research focusses on understanding how immune cells collaborate with each other through interactions to drive the initiation of new immune responses and maintain them in chronic inflammatory disease. This research relies heavily on several in vivo imaging modalities, including multiphoton confocal microscopy.

Paula FosterPaula Foster

Professor, Medical Biophysics
Scientist, Robarts Research Institute

Dr. Paula Foster is a Professor in Medical Biophysics and leads Robarts Research Institute’s Cellular and Molecular Imaging Program. Her research is focused on the development and application of MRI cell tracking techniques and iron- and fluorine- based cell labeling technologies for in vivo imaging of cells in experimental animal models. Major areas of research in the Foster lab are tracking cancer cell dormancy and metastasis, immune cells associated with tumors, and cellular therapeutics for cancer in preclinical models of a variety of cancers.

Greg DekabanGregory Dekaban

Professor and Acting Chair, Microbiology and Immunology
Scientist, Robarts Research Institute

Dr. Gregory Dekaban is a Professor and Acting Chair in Microbiology and Immunology, a Scientist at Robarts Research Institute and Director of the Molecular Medicine Research Laboratories at Robarts. Dr. Dekaban’s early research focused on the neurovirology, molecular epidemiology and immunology of Human immunodeficiency virus and Human T-cell leukemia Virus-Type I/II.  He also had strong interests in vaccine development for HIV, HTLV-I and cancer.  More recently, he has focused on developing anti-inflammatory therapeutics for CNS trauma (spinal cord and brain injury), and adjuvants for vaccine-based immunotherapies for infectious diseases (HIV in particular) and cancer.  He has developed methods to track cells in vivo using cellular magnetic resonance imaging techniques as a means to provide a non-invasive biomarker capable of assessing cell-based vaccines in vivo in real time.    

John RonaldJohn Ronald

Assistant Professor, Medical Biophysics
Scientist, Robarts Research Institute

Dr. John Ronald is an Assistant Professor, Medical Biophysics and Scientist at Robarts Research Institute. His research focuses on pioneering novel molecular and cellular imaging technologies that can sensitively, accurately and non-invasively detect molecular activities within the body over the course of an individual’s entire life. His work is particular focused on improved early cancer detection and treatment, as well as improved monitoring of cellular therapies for cancer and other diseases. To accomplish this, he is investigating the development of novel gene-based platforms that strategically integrate disease-specific activatable expression systems with both biofluid-based and multimodality imaging reporter readouts. This work is at the interface of molecular and cell biology, imaging sciences, and nanomedicine and requires a multidisciplinary approach to devise innovative solutions to some of today’s most difficult biomedical problems.

Ting Lee Ting-Yim Lee

Professor, Medical Biophysics
Scientist, Robarts Research Institute
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute

Dr. Ting-Yim Lee is a Professor in Medical Biophysics, and a Scientist at Robarts Research Institute and Lawson Health Research Institute. His research focuses on physiological modeling of dynamic data acquired with specific molecular probes and positron emission tomography (PET) scanning. His methodology is based on his previous successful CT Perfusion software licensed to GE Healthcare and Neusoft. The modeling can provide more accurate quantitative estimates of the activities of molecular and physiological processes occurring in normal and pathological conditions.

Michael KovacsMichael Kovacs

Assistant Professor, Medical Biophysics 
Director, Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Facility, Lawson Health Research Institute

Dr. Michael Kovacs is an Assistant Professor in Medical Biophysics and the Director of Lawson Health Research Institute's Cyclotron and Radiochemistry Facility. His research focuses on radionuclide production with solid phase cyclotron targets. His was nationally recognized in 2015 when he was part of the team awarded with the NSERC Brockhouse Prize for his work in cyclotron produced technetium-99m. As Director of the Facility, Dr. Kovacs oversees the production of positron emitting radiopharmaceuticals (PERs) for research and clinical use, including commercially approved products. 

Len LuytLen Luyt

Associate Professor, Oncology, Medical Imaging and Chemistry
Scientist, Lawson Health Research Institute

Dr. Len Luyt is an Associate Professor with appointments in Oncology, Medical Imaging and Chemistry, and a Scientist at Lawson Health Research Institute. He is researching peptide-based molecular imaging agents (PET, SPECT, and optical) for novel, clinically relevant targets. Following his PhD training at Western University, he completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He then led a research team as a senior medicinal chemist Medicinal Chemist with the pharmaceutical company Bayer-Schering. He has published 44 journal articles, five book chapters, greater than 100 conference abstracts, and has 10 granted or applied for patents.